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Oscars 2015: Birdman claims best picture as Eddie Redmayne named best actor

The Theory of Everything

Story by Jack Foley

BRITISH actor has been crowned best actor at the Oscars for his performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything – but the night belonged to Birdman, which claimed the big prize of best film.

In a ceremony notable for springing a couple of big surprises, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Birdman stole a march on Richard Linklater’s Boyhood to claim the coveted best picture title, as well as best director for its Mexican filmmaker.

Going into the ceremony, many had thought that 12-years in the making coming-of-age drama Boyhood would claim both prizes but Birdman swooped when it mattered the most.

And Boyhood was left with just one award from six nominations – best supporting actress – which went to Patricia Arquette.

Commenting on the win for best picture, Inarritu joked: “Maybe next year there’ll be some immigration rules to the Academy – two Mexicans in a row is suspicious [in reference to Alfonso Cuaron’s win for Gravity last year].”

But on a more serious note, he went on to dedicate his award to his fellow Mexicans, saying: “I pray we can find and build a government we deserve and I hope Mexican immigrants in this country can be treated with the same dignity as the ones who came before and built this immigrant nation.”

The big news for British interest, however, was the fact that Redmayne continued his awards domination by claiming best actor, ahead of fellow Brit Benedict Cumberbatch and Birdman star Michael Keaton.

The British actor thanked his “staggering partner in crime”, co-star Felicity Jones, and his “ferocious but incredibly kind director James Marsh”.

He also thanked the Hawking family, including Jane Hawking on whose book the film is based, and said his award belonged “to all of the people around the world battling ALS [motor neurone disease]”.

Backstage, he also told the BBC that he intended to go and visit Hawking and his family at their home to share his success further. Redmayne has also won a Golden Globe and BAFTA among his awards haul this season.

Another winner that was widely expected was Julianne Moore, who continued her winning streak by being named best actress for her performance in Still Alice, in which she plays a 50-year-old who has early on-set Alzheimer’s.

Visibly delighted, yet still incredibly humble, Moore used her speech to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s, saying: “I’m so happy, I’m thrilled that we were able to shine a light on Alzheimer’s disease. So many people who have this disease feel marginalised. People who have Alzheimer’s disease deserve to be seen so we can find a cure.”

JK Simmons also continued his own personal winning streak by claiming best supporting actor for Whiplash, in which he played a strict drumming teacher at a music conservatory.

That film also won the award for best editing and best sound mixing.

And further British success came for British duo Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier, for best hair and make-up, for Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, which also won best costume design (Milena Canonero), best score and production design.

In her acceptance speech, Hannon thanked absent actor Bill Murray – an Anderson regular who cameos in the film – for introducing her to Anderson on the set of his film Rushmore 17 years earlier.

And another British duo, Matt Kirkby and James Lucas, picked up the award for best live short action film, The Phone Call, starring Sally Hawkins and Jim Broadbent.

Alan Turing drama The Imitation Game, meanwhile, claimed best adapted screenplay.

Disney’s Big Hero 6 claimed the best animation prize, while Polish black and white family drama Ida claimed best foreign language film. Citizenfour, which chronicles one of the biggest intelligence leaks in American history, was named best documentary.

The 87th Academy Awards took place at Hollywood’s 3,300-seat Dolby Theatre on Sunday, February 22, 2015, and was hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, who kicked off with a song that paid homage to Hollywood’s film industry.

Performers at the ceremony included Lady Gaga – who sang a medley of Sound of Music songs to celebrate the classic film’s 50th year – as well as Jennifer Hudson and Anna Kendrick.

View the main winners list